ALVA Associates along with Khozhema Chitawala have designed the Grand Mercure Goa Shrem Resort as a tribute to luxury and class, and the quintessential Indo-Portuguese influence found in abundance in Goa.
Grand Mercure Goa Shrem Resort is a luxurious haven of 121 rooms that flaunts a dramatic architecture resplendent of Indo-Portuguese splendour and authentic Goan influence. Architect Ashwin Alva of ALVA Associates together with designer Khozhema Chitawala conceptualised a space that was modern and luxurious, yet steeped in the culture of its surroundings. Located next to North Goa's bustling nightlife in Candolim, the resort offers an escape from a hectic lifestyle.
The resort´s building is designed with a 85m long and 10.5m wide central 3-storey atrium at its core. The rooms and hubs are spread around this atrium. These diverse aspects are connected with criss-crossing skywalks.
High-pitched roofs and wide verandahs are noteworthy features of the resort´s architecture. While teak has been used extensively, the variety of wooden tones and intricate woodwork adds to the uniqueness of the design. Wood is beautifully complemented with polished kota stone and terrazzo flooring.
Inspiration comes in not just from the prevailing Indo-Portuguese culture but also from past eras. For instance, the windows have a broken-arch design over them that´s reminiscent of the neo-Gothic revival. The main building also has a set of pelmets and mirrors delicately carved with low-relief quatrefoil designs. The furniture in the rooms has clean lines and a modest appeal.
Goan thought, culture and lifestyle seeps into the resort´s design in beautiful yet unobtrusive ways. For instance, the coconut carving, which is a very traditional craft, is used to created floral décor pieces throughout the resort. The neo-Gothic design on quatrefoil pattern is also repeated at strategic places, thereby adding to the Indo-Portuguese appeal of the design. Apart from wood, the use of tile work is also a ´very´ Goan feature. Both woodwork and tiles are used to connect the interiors with the exteriors as they are used in patios and gardens, too.
Another predominant Goan influence is the use of colour. In keeping the Goa´s reputation of revelry and carnivals, the gaiety of spirit is maintained with the use of brilliant hues. This is taken from the Goan tradition of colour coding houses, combined with typical decorative mandala patterns as seen in the décor of the resort´s public areas.
Light installations add on to the classy look of the resort while accentuating the various moods of the different zones. Natural light is used for maximum effect while alternate lights are used in the corridors and stairways to save energy. However, the most eye-catching installation is the one in the hotel´s lobby. Architect Ashwin Alva has used the dramatic installation to accentuate the furnishings and artworks. He has used skylights, over-sized floor lamps, floor-to-ceiling windows and chandeliers to give different feel to various areas. The unique ceiling lights in the guest corridors add on to the royalty of the grand corridors.
The team of ALVA Associates successfully triumphed over the challenge of completing the entire project within a short span of two years, to give the discerning visitors to Goa a peaceful and restful sanctuary.
Text: Kanishka Ramchandani